Carolina Contreras, better known as Miss Rizos, has become a natural hair guru. After opening a salon based in Santo Domingo called Miss Rizos, which translates to ‘Miss Curls.’
The 29-year-old Dominican-American has made a name for herself in the natural hair community with her influential website that encourages the natural hair community to love their hair.
“When I started Miss Rizos, I had no clue it would become what it is today,” Carolina tells Cosmopolitan. “I had no idea that it would be in a print magazine in Peru, that some of my largest readers would be in Colombia, or that I’d receive messages from people in Venezuela telling me they love Miss Rizos.”
Carolina and her salon team are so passionate about natural hair that the salon has a swear jar. The jar works so if you use negative terms for afro or tightly spiraled hair, you have to put in 5 pesos!
Natural hair shaming
Unfortunately, not everyone is as passionate about natural textures. Miss Rizos shared one experience on her Facebook page about a teenage girl who was shamed for her natural hair by her school. The school would only let her enroll if she straightened her natural hair.
The post read:
“This is going to sound like a movie, but it was something that happened here in the salon this week,” she wrote in a Facebook post on July 7. “A young 16-year-old girl, who made the big cut [and went natural] here called us screaming, I could barely understand her words through her sobbing. She told us that her Catholic school didn’t want to register her because of her afro. They made her sign a document saying that she could register only if she straightened her hair. This has to be unconstitutional.”
“I feel heartbroken for this girl who surely feels horrible and alone,” she continued, before sharing another story of a 21-year-old girl who was transitioning to natural hair with braids who was severely shamed by her own family for the decision. Her father even stopped talking to her for several days, according to Miss Rizos.
“These stories bring us back to reality and show us that there is A LOT of work to be done,” she wrote. “To those girls and women, I want you to know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE, be patient because things are changing and you are not crazy FOR WANTING TO BE WHO YOU ARE! There’s nothing wrong with wanting to love your hair just how it is and exactly how it grows out of your head. Keep your head up and we love you!”
Miss Rizos met with the girl’s mother
A few days later, Carolina updated followers on the story. The girl’s mum told her that she supported her daughter’s decision and Carolina agreed to teach the girl how to pull back her hair for school if her parents agreed they wouldn’t force the teen to undergo chemical treatments or straightening.
‘’For me it is very important to keep the anonymity of the girl involved in the case’’ she said explaining, ‘’The girl kept crying because her mind was made up of 100 % certain that she would not give in’’